MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

Reading: Salako (82 mins).
Healy (35 mins, 89 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 11,745

Pos Team P Pts GD
7 Millwall 34 53 +8
8 READING 34 52 -3
9 C Palace 34 50 +5
Reading: Hahnemann, Newman, Ingimarsson, Williams, Shorey, Murray (Kitson 51), Harper, Sidwell, Brooker (Salako 67), Hughes, Owusu (sent off 48 mins). Subs not used: Young, Savage, Goater.
Lonergan, Alexander, Lucketti, Jackson (Mears 9), Davis (Lewis 62), Edwards, Healy, McKenna, Keane, Fuller, Cresswell. Subs not used: Lucas, McCormack, Lynch.
Reading: Sidwell. Owusu (sent off, straight red, 48 mins).
Referee: M Jones (Mansfield)

Ten man Reading so nearly managed to pick-up a point at Preston tonight, after a late second half fightback, but went down to a goal in the final couple of minutes to end up on the wrong end of a 1-2 defeat. After Saturday's spirited home victory against Sheffield United this performance didn't impress but there were positive signs on display from the Royals during the second half after the first half belonged entirely to the home side. Preston could easily have been two or three goals up at the break. Steve Coppell gave new loan signing Brooker a start with Murray back in the starting eleven as Salako and Goater found themselves on the bench. Whether it was the changes to the side, and the revised 4-5-1 formation, or Preston's approach to the game it looked like we were going to be in for a bad evening as Preston got off to the better start.

Reading had just a couple of chances in the first half with Sidwell scuffing a shot and Hughes putting one wide - down the other end Hahnemann pulled off a couple of saves and was also saved by the crossbar as Preston threatened to put the game past Reading. After a good Hahnemann save and a long range effort that smacked against the crossbar Preston moved ahead just after the half hour mark when Healy strode through the Reading defence and took the ball past the Reading keeper before rolling it into the back of the net. It could have been much worse for Reading after another shot hit the underside of the crossbar and nearly bounced over the line for the second. Just before the break Hahnemann was on hand again to push a decent effort past the Reading post.

There was no let up for the Royals early in the second half when Lloyd Owusu was presented with a straight red card just three minutes into the half. He went flying through the air with both feet into a strong tackle that found the ball and the player. The resulting Preston protests saw the referee dish out the red card and saw Reading faced with the prospect of playing with ten men for nearly an entire half. For a moment Preston threatened to finish the game off before Reading dug in to fight their way back into the game. The Royals didn't make a great number of chances but got a late breakthrough that looked like it might salvage a point - Hughes got down the right and crossed to substitute Kitson who headed down for Salako, also fresh off the bench, to drive it home from well inside the Preston area.

Just when it looked like Reading would grab a point Preston snatched the win when Hahnemann came off second best when a cross was played into the Reading area. Hahnemann came for the ball but ended up in a heap with a group of players challenging. With the net unguarded Healy proded it home from close range for his second goal of the game. It was a cruel blow after Reading had looked good for the point with just ten men - but Preston will argue they had the better of the game across the ninety minutes.


Yet another defeat that knocks the stuffing out of you and makes this game so cruel at times. Having clawed our way back into the game against all odds with ten men for most of the second half and what looks like making the long journey worthwhile for the travelling fans, turns into a nightmare thanks to the inability of our Yankee doodle dandy goalkeeper as he fails to deal with a cross and lets the ball fall to the feet of the grateful Preston player five yards out with five minutes to go, who gleefully slams the ball home for a late winner. Great! A draw would have been a tremendous result against a far better team in Preston who had not previously won in their last four games. Reading never looked like scoring for most of the night and Preston looked far more dangerous on the break . Our passing was very sloppy and we found it hard to get any momentum but it wasn't helped but a fussy tosser of a referee who saw fit to send Owusu off very early in the second half for what looked a clumsy tackle rather than malicious. From then it was backs against the wall until amazingly we got the equaliser through a good move involving Hughsey , Kitson and a easy finish for Johhny Salad. We know the rest... Must mention the travelling fans who really got behind the team and continued to chant for most of the second half, shame they were let down by yet another blunder by a keeper who has no competition at the club and must be seriously looked at as the future keeper for this club.
Nick Newbury

Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages

Quick Links:
  [Match Reports Index]   [Match Previews Index]   [Current League Table]

Link to Hob Nob Anyone? Home Page
Copyright Hob Nob Anyone? © 1994-2004

The Original Reading Football Club Internet Site